Sieben sponsors legislation to protect kids from toxic chemicals

St. Paul, Minn. – Today Senator Katie Sieben joined fellow legislators and Healthy Legacy, a Minnesota-based public health coalition, to announce legislation that will protect children from toxic chemicals in consumer products. The legislative package, which contains three bills, seeks to eliminate toxic chemicals from products marketed to children.

“As a mother, I know parents are concerned about the chemicals their kids are exposed to. The last thing a parent should have to worry about is harmful chemicals in their kids’ food,” said Sieben. “These proposals build on Minnesota’s nation-leading initiative to ban dangerous chemicals in sippy cups and baby bottles.”

The bills will build on the momentum of the Toxic Free Kids Act of 2009 in which the Minnesota Department of Health and Pollution Control Agency created a list of chemicals of high concern. They have identified nine highly dangerous chemicals used in children’s products—formaldehyde, BPA, lead, cadmium, three phthalates and two flame retardants. The Toxic Free Kids Act of 2013 requires manufacturers to report the presence of any of these chemicals in any of their children’s products and gives state agencies the authority to require a gradual phase out these nine chemicals and the substitution of safer alternatives. Currently, several of these dangerous chemicals persist in children’s toys, shampoo and more.

Two additional bills would require the phase out of chemicals that have already been identified as priority chemicals, formaldehyde and bisphenol-A. The Formaldehyde in Children’s Personal Care Products Act (SF357/HF458) will require personal care products intended for children under 12 to be formaldehyde-free within a year. The BPA in Children’s Food Packaging Bill (SF379/HF459) will require manufacturers to stop using BPA in all food packaging intended for children less than 12 years old within a year.

All three bills are scheduled for upcoming hearings in the Minnesota legislature.

“The science is clear that formaldehyde and BPA are threats to our children’s health and that safer alternatives are available,” stated Kathleen Schuler, Co-Director of the Healthy Legacy Coalition. “These bills are sensible steps to protect Minnesota kids.”

Added Sieben, “Parents shouldn’t need a chemistry degree to feel safe about the products they buy for their children. The legislature deals with a lot of controversial issues, but we should all be able to agree that we have an obligation to enact common sense regulations for the safety of our children.”

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Senator Katie Sieben
Assistant Majority Leader Senate District 54
Katie Sieben is the Assistant Majority Leader and represents District 54, which includes portions of Dakota and Washington counties. She is the chair of the Subcommittee on Elections and the vice chair of the Rules and Administration Committee.

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